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ERIC Number: EJ831130
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1536-6367
Universals and Individuals--Is This the End of the Discussion?
von Eye, Alexander
Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives, v7 n1 p3-7 Jan 2009
Universals were said to exist if superordinate variables can be established that are parallel in several individuals or groups of individuals. In addition, these variables can be shown to exhibit dimensional identity in the sense that their relationships with other latent variables are not conditioned on individuals or membership in groups of individuals. These superordinate variables are the universals of psychology. Nesselroade, Gerstorf, Hardy, and Ram's (2007) contribution in this context is major. The authors showed that the same latent variables can be established and can have the same relationships to other variables even if the information on which these variables are based overlaps only in part. Based on this result, it can be concluded that this is the final argument in the discussion of universals and their relationships to individuals. However, at least two issues prevent the assumption that this discussion has come to a final conclusion. These issues are both methodological and conceptual. A methodological issue is that some behaviors may not be observable at all in some individuals. A conceptual issue concerns the discussion of whether or not the bottom-up strategy that was based on Eysenck's methods to establish variables and dimensions of personality is the only one that can be used to establish universals in psychology. It might be interesting to, in a first step, attempt to define universals based on theory. In a second step, one then attempts to establish such universals empirically. In this commentary, the author concludes that Nesselroade, Gerstorf, Hardy, and Ram (2007) have made a most important contribution to the methodology of defining universals in psychology (and other empirical social and behavioral sciences). Universals can now be established based on information that is partially specific to individuals or groups of individuals. Considering the history of the discussion of universals and their relationship to individuals, this can be considered a breakthrough. The methodological basis for establishing universals has become more powerful and more flexible. (Contains 2 figures.)
Psychology Press. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A